Telecom regulator ACMA said Australia raised over $615 million during the process
Four mobile carriers have won 5G spectrum in the Australian Communication and Media Authority (ACMA)’s latest spectrum auction in the 3.6 GHz band.
The regulator said it raised approximately AUD 853 million ($615.6 million) after selling 350 available spectrum lots during the process.
“This spectrum is recognized internationally as a key band for 5G services. Timely release of 5G-compatible spectrum will facilitate the early delivery of next generation 5G services to the Australian public and industry,” said ACMA Chair Nerida O’Loughlin.
Dense Air Australia won 29 lots for AUD 18.49 million; Mobile JV, the joint venture of TPG Telecom and Vodafone Hutchison Australia, won 131 lots for AUD 263.2 million; Optus won 47 lots for AUD 185 million; and Telstra won 143 lots for AUD 386 million.
ACMA said that the 5G licenses won at auction will start in March 2020 and will extend until December 2030. However, the regulator said that winning carrier will probably have earlier access to the band, provided that no interference is caused to existing licensees.
“The ACMA designed an auction process—including starting prices—that aimed to maximize efficiency, competitive outcomes and the full utility of this spectrum for 5G. We consider these goals have been reflected in the auction outcome,” said O’Loughlin.
In October last year, the government of Australia developed a paper outlining a 5G policy for the country, including the establishment of a working group to drive the deployment of 5G mobile technology in Australia.
The government said this working group will support the timely rollout of 5G technology in the country with the primary goal of fostering the growth of the digital economy. The government highlighted that it would support 5G deployments by making spectrum available in a timely manner, actively engaging in international standardization processes and streamlining planning arrangements to allow mobile operators to deploy infrastructure more quickly and at lower cost.
Australian mobile carrier Telstra previously said that it aims to have 200 5G-enabled sites live around the country by the end of this year. In September, the telco said that a total of 15 5G-enabled sites were already operational across the country.
At the beginning of the year, Telstra opened a 5G Innovation Center on the Gold Coast, with the main aim of testing next-generation technologies to support the early commercial deployment of 5G mobile services in Australia. Telstra aims to launch commercial 5G services in 2019. Telstra has previously said that it would work with Ericsson on key 5G technologies including massive multiple-input, multiple-output (Massive MIMO), adaptive beamforming and beam tracking, and OFDM-based waveforms in its Gold Coast center.
Rival telco Optus also said it will launch its 5G fixed-wireless services in the cities of Canberra and Brisbane in January 2019. The carrier, owned by Singapore´s Singtel, said that other major Australian cities will have 5G coverage in March next year.
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